Research Paper By Karen Folino
(Personal Wellness Coach, UNITED STATES)
This article will explore the thought of strength-based leadership and how to recognize primary strengths—and construct a plan to build on them. Knowing and recognizing strengths also offers a better understanding of how to deal with the weaknesses—and helps build confidence.
Corporate Coaches should have a clear picture of how they can be influential leaders. Trust, compassion, stability, and insightfulness are among the clear strengths that coaches should have.
Corporate Coaches should be leaders—leaders of clients, leaders of the management structures that enable the clients to be at their best, leaders of the leaders, and providing thought leadership. In a corporate setting, it is easy to observe leadership consisting of opposing strengths, and most leaders have a natural tendency to over-develop one at the expense of its counterpart. The resulting imbalance diminishes their effectiveness. But leaders and corporate coaches who work to guard against such lopsidedness can increase their versatility and their impact.
This article will explore the thought of strength-based leadership and how to recognize primary strengths— and construct a plan to build on them. Knowing and recognizing strengths also offers a better understanding of how to deal with the weaknesses—and helps build confidence.
Coaches who help their clients build up their strengths can reach their highest potential. This positive approach does not pretend to ignore or deny the problems of traditional approach (or “muscle cramps”), rather it enables the coach to tap into strengths that they may or may not be aware of and so contribute more to their organizations. The challenge will be to tap into unrecognized and unexplored areas of potential.
Leadership at the 50,000 ft level: Strength taken to extreme
Corporate conceptions of leadership suffer from a serious limitation. Although it is generally acknowledged that effective leaders must possess a number of sometimes seemingly contradictory qualities and skill sets, the idea that a strength taken to an extreme can be a weakness does not seem to have registered fully in the practice of management. The concept of overdoing has not been as sharp because its problematic aspects are not immediately obvious—after all, leaders often must go to extremes to meet tough challenges. It is difficult to draw the line, however, between making the serious effort required to get things done and going too far.
The most common contrast when evaluating leadership success is a contrast of Strategic Leadership vs. Operational Leadership. Strategic Leadership implies setting long-term direction, thinking broadly about the organization, seeking ways to grow the business, and aligning people with the vision and strategy. Operational leadership, in contrast, is focusing on short-term results, getting involved in operational detail, being grounded in the realities of implementing strategy, and using process to keep people on track. The two balances seem to complement each other— it is about the WHAT and the HOW. The strategic duality describes WHAT managers work on; the forceful-enabling duality describes HOW they go about it.
The versatile, and therefore effective, leader can draw upon the virtuous aspects of each approach to suit the circumstances at hand. The goal is to strike an appropriate balance that complements a balance and effectiveness for the situation. Below is a partial list of the strengths and watch-outs associated with each of the leadership’s dominating dualities.
|Dominant to the point of eclipsing subordinates;||Empowers subordinates; ale to delegate;||Abdicates responsibility for oversight;|
|Does not hear and value others’ opinions||Takes stands and articulates them clearly;||Listens to others opinions and ideas;||Takes no clear stands;|
|Insensitive; callous||Makes tough calls, including those that have adverse effects on people;||Compassionate; responsive to others’ needs and feelings||Overly accommodating;|
|Rigid; demoralizes others||Holds others accountable||Understanding||Does not hold others accountable|
|Hopelessly conceptual||Thinks broadly; focused on big picture;||Knows the specifics of how things work;||Bogged down in detail|
|Too ambitious||Expansive; aggressive about growing the business||Respects the limits of the organization’s capability||Too conservative and limiting|
Leadership at the 10,000 feet level: The Four Domains of Leadership Strengths…. as an individual member and contributor
Gallup has studied and worked with thousands of leadership teams. The conclusions of some of this research seems to reveal that while each member of the team has his or her own unique strengths– the most cohesive and successful teams possessed broader groupings of strengths.
Four Domains of Leadership Strength emerged from these studies:
- Relationship Building
- Strategic Thinking
Leaders with dominant strength in Executing domain know how to make things happen. When you need someone to implement a solution, these are the people who will work tirelessly to get it done. Leaders with a strength to execute have the ability to “catch” an idea and make it a reality.